Food delivery market could hit £7.1bn this year

Research from The NPD Group has confirmed the success of UK food delivery - a segment of the food and drink market that could be worth £7.1bn by the end of 2020.

Comparing the period from January to October this year with the same period in 2019, delivery is up 14% in visit terms (to 804m) and has seen a 40% increase in spend to £5.7bn. 

Though delivery has met consumer need during the pandemic's social culture of enforced home living, working and entertaining, NPD’s research reveals that consumers still continue to value eating out and many plan to do so as soon as they are able.

The NPD Group says on current trends delivery could finish 2020 with visits in the 12 months up 16% to break the 1bn barrier and reach 1.1bn visits with spend projected up by 42% at £7.1bn.

That would be the equivalent of a 12m monthly increase in visits versus 2019 and a £177m monthly boost to spend.

Figures also show that pizzas, chips/fries/wedges and beef burgers have been the nation's top food delivery choices during the examined period.

“Delivery is the silver lining in the otherwise very black cloud that hangs over Britain’s foodservice sector and has been the standout performer in 2020," comments Dominic Allport, insights director (foodservice) at The NPD Group.  

"Delivery spend peaked in July at 51% above pre-Covid levels but this trailed off as foodservice operators re-opened and with the August Eat Out to Help Out scheme. It’s now rising again amid the return to stricter lockdown rules and we expect it to see further success in the colder winter months and on into 2021.

"While the delivery channel is often seen as a threat by some operators, during the Covid-19 crisis it is bringing valuable business to many outlets that are otherwise facing the severest business challenges, and helping to feed a nation locked down in their homes.”

The global information company's latest Sentiment Survey shows that Brits still very much value eating out in restaurants, with 50% saying they prefer to dine out or get a takeaway from a restaurant when spending time with friends.

Almost six in 10 (58%) say they choose restaurants to eat ‘something special’.

This bodes well for the hospitality sector, providing hope for when it begins to reopen and recover from the pandemic.